Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
It’s been relatively warm in our area of South Carolina thus far this year, but this past weekend we had the first cold snap of the season. And that’s all our family needed to get pumped up to go deer hunting!
I guess I should back up a little though… We live in Chesterfield County tucked just inside the SC line right along highway #9. Just across the NC line a new outdoor store called Reel Determined Outdoors has opened and people from our town have slowly been checking it out. Last Friday I went up to the store and learned that they were hosting deer competitions so I signed me and my son up! I signed myself up in the adult division and I signed my oldest son up in the youth division!
Reel Determined was giving away cash for the biggest buck and biggest doe in the adult division and a crossbow for the biggest buck and biggest doe in the youth division! Needless to say this had us pumped up even more to go hunting and to harvest a great deer!
Saturday morning finally arrived we all got up early and put enough clothes on to keep us warm with the freezing temperatures. Caiden, my oldest son who is 8 years old, wanted to hunt a tripod stand where he had killed some does earlier in the year. Yes, he hunts by himself with a 308 rifle! Over the past few years we have worked hard with him to learn about hunting and firearm safety and the right and wrong of a firearms.
His papaw Tim took him to his stand and got him situated. His Uncle Cody, his Papaw, and myself went and got in our stands that pretty much surrounded him. We specifically told Caiden not to shoot anything unless its body was bigger than the deer he shot earlier this year. We told Caiden that the bucks should be moving and to try to hold off on a doe if he could stand it.
In the stand it was cold and I just knew one of us was going to be successful. I got in my stand and had been sitting there for about 20 minutes and I decided to hit the grunt call! It worked just like it was supposed to. A nice buck with a one side of his horns broke off came running in like clockwork. I froze up and didn’t know what to do!! I pulled up on him and clicked the safety off but just couldn't bring myself to shoot the deer because I couldn't see exactly how big he was! Oh what a mistake after the fact. Yea I so wish I would have pulled the trigger but hey the good Lord has bigger plans for me!
My morning didn’t go so well. The rest of the morning I didn’t see or hear much until about 7:30am when I heard Caiden shoot! I was so happy and thought sure he had killed a monster! So I took off towards him and I find his Uncle Cody there also wanting to go see why he had killed. We got to him and asked what did he get and he tells us “I don't know but it’s a lot of meat for the freezer!” Oh Jesus not what I wanted to hear!
We went down to where he shot and we find a 112 pound doe! Yep he couldn’t stand it long enough to hold off for a buck, but I’m sure we all remember those days. And in retrospect I’m so glad he took the deer.
We got the deer loaded up and took it up to Reel Determined Outdoors to be weighed in for the competition. They weighed it and put his name on the board and at that time he was in first! We were going back Saturday afternoon to try and get on the board again but it didn’t work out for us! After our afternoon hunt, Caiden's papaw and his uncle took him up to Reel Determined to see if he had won.
They called me at 8 pm and told me that Caiden had won and he got a Carbon Express Covert Crossbow! Wow what a setup! They told him to come back and get it sighted in and instructed on how to use it. Of course on Monday we were on our way right back up there to get it all taken care of so he could shoot it. The guys at Reel Determined Outdoors were so professional and patient with us. They gave us a Crossbow 101 and I am very pleased with everything. If you get a chance you should really stop by and see them. Not only do they have a nice store, but they are willing to help you with any of your hunting and fishing needs.
And we sure do have one happy young crossbow hunter in our house now. Thanks Reel Determined Outdoors!
This past season was another great hunting season and we had some really nice bucks posted to the site! Thanks again to everyone who entered the competitions as well as our sponors who made it all possible.
I always enjoy giving out prizes to the competition winners. It's fun to see them smile and finally get their prizes. This year I had a tough time getting all of our schedules lined up so it took me a little longer to get the prizes to the winners, but I finally tracked them down. I made a quick video showing the winners getting their prizes. We had some happy campers on hand!
Giving out prizes also signifies the end of another good hunting season. Stay tuned as there will be more to come on WeHuntSC.com!
Another deer hunting season has come and gone and now it?s time to vote this year?s deer competition winners. Thanks to everyone who participated and posted pictures. Keep in mind that the 5 finalists are selected by a committee and only pictures that had the date in them were considered. The selections were based on the biggest deer, best picture combination. Now the winners will be determined by your votes.
It?s evident that managing game on one's land can have long-term benefits for hunting. In this blog series we're looking at the concept of Game Management. So far in the journey we've discussed Food Plots, Selective Harvest, & Herd Balance and with this entry we're going to look into the concept of deer surveying.
Deer surveying is exactly what is sounds like, surveying the deer on your land. Recent technology has made surveying deer (and any species of game) a whole lot easier, mainly via the creation of the game camera. The invention of the game camera has undeniably changed the way we hunt. Game cameras give hunters an advantage by providing valuable information about the deer in our area. Obviously game camera pics don't give an outdoorsman a 100% accurate read on the deer in a given area, but they do give way more insight about the deer herd than if we didn't have game cameras.
Game cameras are the most common (and affordable) way to survey one's deer herd. Though, there are more scientific and expensive methods of surveying deer. I heard one speaker at a conference say that in some locations they were flying airplanes over tracks of land taking thermal imagery to survey the game on the land. I imagine thermal imagery is more accurate and way more expensive too! I also know that DNR uses some more advanced, scientific techniques for surveying deer population & growth. These are all neat methods that provide more accurate data, but any method besides a game camera falls out of my financial range. Nevertheless the importance of having a feel for the game on your land is the main point to be noted.
Why is having knowledge of the deer in an area important for game management? If you are herd balance conscientious then surveying deer can give you a feel for the ratio of bucks to does on your property. Sure it's not accurate down to a finite percentage, but it does allow more informed decisions to be made about the herd in a given area. From this insight a hunter can help determine which deer he or she should or shouldn't harvest based on numbers. Essentially a hunter can get a feel for the herd balance in the area they are hunting through surveying the game on their land. You'll find that die-hard hunters survey deer year round and move their game cameras around a few times a year. Surveying deer, like game management, is a year round process.
Surveying the game in a hunter's allotted hunting area also helps one determine the age class of deer in the region. Viewing the size of deer in a game camera's pictures can help hunters determine the age of bucks based on body size, rack size, and other traits of mature bucks. Along with viewing the different age class of bucks any recent fawns, yearlings, and does can be observed as well. Viewing the deer in your area helps you get a feel for the health of deer as well.
Knowledge of the game in a track of land is a must in any effective game management strategy. Whether you survey deer through more expensive techniques or simply through a game camera, surveying deer pays dividends and helps hunters make informed decisions. Surveying deer allows hunters to watch deer mature over time and gives insight toward the herd balance ratios. If you haven't already, start learning about the deer in your area and you'll be a better hunter because of it.
If you read my blog "Shed Crazy" you would have seen a shed that we found this past year of a buck that we later named the Brow Tine Buck. This deer had unusually long brow tines that measured approximately 9 inches. For that reason, this deer was on the top of the hit list for the 2011 season. Fast forward to October 29th.
When the alarm clock sounded at 5:30 a.m. on October 29th the sound of rain was tapping steady on the window by my bed. Without much thought I quickly turned it off and drifted back into oblivion. What only seemed like a minute later, alarm number two sounded off on my Timex Ironman watch. It was now 6:30 a.m. As I lay there for a few seconds a couple thoughts drifted through my mind. The first was the rain and the second was the rut. After a few more seconds went by I figured that I better get up and check the weather. After checking weatherchannel.com and taking a peek outside I decided that my thoughts of the rut outweighed the rain that seemed to be on its way out of town. It was time to go hunting.
One thing I've enjoyed about this season has been using the Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle. It has allowed me to store all of my gear in one spot and has kept my Crossover Camo suit ready at a moments notice. Because I was running a little behind on this morning it was important that I have all of my gear ready to go in order to get ready quicker and get in the stand faster. Did I mention that it's nice not to have to worry about cover scents. The bag takes care of all that for me. There's nothing like a good mixture of fresh earth and pine.
As I made my way to my stand I thought that with the storm moving out the deer should be on the move. I had a good wind as I walked in and I had a good feeling about the hunt. Since I was late walking in I didn't have to sit long before the sky started to lighten up. At about 7:30 a.m. I caught a glimpse of a deer moving through the cotton field. I quickly turned to get my rifle ready. The first deer was a doe. I knew this could get good quick. The doe was moving at a steady pace through the field so I scanned back across the field and there he was. My first thought was what the heck is that. I immediately knew the deer had a big body, but his rack was very unusual. As the deer moved through the field I knew my window was closing fast. I had to make a decision quick. The deer then stopped and looked my direction. That's when it hit me. This was the Brow Tine Buck. I quickly clicked off the safety and put the crosshairs behind his shoulder. A loud crack and the buck jolted out of sight. I couldn't see him crash but I could tell he didn't go too far. What a feeling! The Brow Tine Buck was down!
As I sat in my stand after making the shot I thought to myself this must be the Year of the Brow Tine. First we found his shed antler in March. Then I picked up an awesome knife from CRKT. Coincidently the knife is called the Kommer "Brow Tine". And then it all comes together on October 29th with the "Brow Tine Buck" on the ground. Awesome!
The buck was definitely a good one to get out of the herd. He ended up being a 187 # 7 point and a trophy in my book. This year his brow tines measured close to 12 inches. Crazy is all I can say!
Due to the rain I left my video camera at the house, but once the buck was on the ground a made the quick trip back to the house and got the camera. Check out some of the footage.
The 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic proved to be another successful outdoor event. If you?re a deer hunter the event definitely got you in the right frame of mind as the new products, gear, & displays on hand would get your blood pumping. Not only were deer hunting product vendors on hand, but even turkey, gator, waterfowl, and international hunting vendors were on hand as well. Radio stations were broadcasting from outside and you could find baby alligators, puppies, deadly snakes, and even a bear on hand inside the event! There were several activities for youth & kids as well as speaking sessions for sponsors.
Also, if you?re a tech-geek and use Twitter we ?live-tweeted? the event with usage of the hashtag #PDDC. If you want to go back and see the tweets just search for that hashtag and you?ll find them
I enjoyed the 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic and was able to talk with many of WeHuntSC.com?s sponsors, bloggers, as well as a couple of site members at the event. I had lunch with 2 of our bloggers (Tommy & Evan) as well as site member ?KershawBuck? during the middle of the day. We had a good time talking about our plans for this upcoming deer season as we chowed down on some Firehouse subs.
After lunch I headed over to the Schofield?s Hardware Annual Classic Sale where Mr. Blake Hodge of the Wrecking Crew was on hand doing some calling demos on behalf of Drake Outdoors. I have never been in Schofield?s Hardware before, but I have to tell you that I will definitely be going back! Just thinking of the word ?hardware? gives one an inaccurate impression of this store. This place is an outdoor store combined with a hardware store. To me, having all those products hand-in-hand is great because I always use hunting gear & hardware simultaneously. I couldn?t believe just how much hunting/outdoor product they had on hand in the store. They?ve got really nice clothing for any kind of hunter, they?ve got feeders, boots, deer stands, scent products, all the way to guns and ammo. You name it and they had it. I left the store with a new perspective?and a new outdoor store for when I?m in the Florence area!
After lunch and going to Schofield?s I headed back over to the 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic. This time around I wanted to really look at the products on hand with a critical eye. Probably like many other people do, I?m always looking for new products that are not just ?gimmicks?. I?m looking for cutting edge innovation and for things that could improve my hunts and yet still not hurt my wallet too much! I?m also looking for booth-vendors who are passionate about the products they are promoting...in a genuine way, not a push-this-product on you type way. I found a couple of those products and met a couple of these people. Below I?ve detailed some of the people, companies, organizations, and products that stuck out to me.
Probably the neatest thing I saw this year was a camo suit called the ?SacSuit? by CamOver. This product is definitely innovative and the guy at the booth was definitely passionate about the product. It?s hard to describe what this suit is like without seeing it for yourself, but to try to describe it I would say that it?s a 1-piece camo suit that folds inside itself and zips up into a nice circular pouch. When opened for wearing the zippers where this thing zips are used as a venting system. This product was definitely designed by a hunter and I think the guy at the booth may have even sold out there at the event. This product is a definite ?must check out?.
- Web site: http://www.sacsuit.com/
Have you ever heard of ?Falconry?? I haven?t, but I learned about it this past weekend. Falconry, as defined by the SCFalconry.com web site is, ?the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor.? The definition taken from the web site lines up with what the guys at the show told me about falconry. They catch falcons in the wild and train them to hunt. Imagine dog hunting without dogs, but rather falcons. Trying to imagine this piqued my interest because I?ve never seen or really heard of anyone around me doing it. I?m definitely going to research more about the sport and hopefully try to learn more about it?and maybe even get in on a falconry hunt at some point.
- Web site: http://www.scfalconry.com/
Another new product that seemed really neat is a feed called "BuckYum". BuckYum is a feed, an attractant, a mineral supplement, and a permanent food source all at the same time! BuckYum consists of a mixture of corn, peanuts, and peanut chips. If you get anywhere near some BuckYum you definitely can smell the peanuts in it. Just grabbing a bag of BuckYum will make your hands smell like peanut butter. BuckYum not only smells great, but it has a good balance of protein, fat, & fiber that deer need. When you put BuckYum out it usually gets eaten qiuickly by the game in your area, but in the case that it doesn't all get eaten up the seeds in BuckYum start to grow a permanent food source. This way you get the maximum "bang for your buck".
One more notable thing about BuckYum is that one of it's creators is a former NFL player...and a good one at that! Brad Hoover of the Carolina Panthers is one of the co-owners of BuckYum. Brad is very down-to-earth and is genuinely a good guy...and he loves the outdoors. Brad gladly signed autographs for Pee Dee Deer Classic event attendees.
- Web site: http://www.BuckYum.com
WinnTuck is an organization that makes waterfowl lanyards and sunglass lanyards. You wouldn?t imagine finding many waterfowl oriented vendors at the ?deer? classic, but WinnTuck?s gear looks so good and is of such quality that it drew interest from everyone that walked by. WinnTuck?s lanyards are very high quality and very durable. Also, their shirts and hat designs are so unique and stylish that you can ?crossover? in these clothes...that is, you can wear them to an outdoor oriented event or a semi-formal event and still not be out of place. I love it when I find clothing that can ?fit in? regardless of the environment and WinnTuck?s clothing & logo design is so stylish that it fits this bill. If you?re a waterfowl hunter and you haven?t heard of (or seen) WinnTuck?s gear before then you should definitely check it out.
Product web site: http://www.WinnTuck.com
Appletree Game Feeder
Yes you?ve seen all kind of feeders before, but you?ve never seen one like this. It doesn?t work by gravity and the contents of the feeder move upward before they move downward. This is another product that is tough to describe without seeing. This product was also definitely designed by hunters because all the T?s were crossed & I?s were dotted in the design of this product. I fired rapid questions about the design to the gentlemen working this booth and he had a quick and legitimate response to every question.
- Web site: http://appletree.embarqspace.com
McKenzie Scent Fan Bag
I also spent time over at Eddie McKenzie?s booth where he was demoing his ?Scent Fan Duffle bag? for the second year. His booth had the whole area smelling like dog-fennel and event attendees caught whiffs of the smell as they walked by. It was neat to see them smell the scent and then turn and look. I guess from a vendor?s perspective it?s a good way to get attention. Though, what was more impressive to me was that people who had previously bought the bag last year were stopping by just to tell Eddie how much they loved his bag and how they were sitting on top of deer in tree stands without the deer scenting them during the last deer hunting season. Unsolicited positive feedback from consumers is always a good sign and demonstrated that to me that the people who use the McKenzie Scent Fan bag like it so much that they stopped back by just to talk about it. That is impressive. So if you?re reading this blog and you?ve never heard about the McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag, you should really check it out.
Web site: www.McKScent.com
Riley Darby I also met a YouTube star for the first time in person this past weekend. I?ve seen Riley Darby in a lot of videos where he?s catching fish, showing off the biggest buck in the world, and almost falling off an ATV, but I?ve never met him in person until this past weekend. From meeting Riley I can tell you that the videos don?t do his personality justice. Not only was Riley shooting random people that walked by with a rubber band gun that he got at the Classic, he was telling us about the deer he?s going to harvest this coming year, he put on a display at the bow shooting station, and he even threatened to shoot a bear with a rubber band too. The camera loves Riley and he?s pretty accurate with a rubber band gun so it?s only a matter of time until he?s on ESPN outdoors. Keep your eyes out for Riley in the future!
All in all, the Classic was another good event. I had a good time hanging out and seeing the new products. Tommy also pointed something out to me that I had previously just walked right by. Someone had used the WeHuntSC.com banner in their setup! This was really neat to see.